Croatia has established itself as one of Europe’s premium tourist destinations. Endowed with a natural charm, the Adriatic country annually attracts millions adventurers, vacationers and thrill seekers. Whether someone is seeking sumptuous delicacies, ecstatic adventures, luxurious pampering or even romantic sunsets, Croatia never disappoints. With close to 1,267 islands to choose from, visitors to Croatia are basically spoilt for choice. However, there are certain destinations which have established themselves as must-visit spots for anyone intending to have a great time. Here are some of the best must visit spots in Croatia.
Zagreb is the only metropolis in Croatia with a population of over one million. It is the perfect place to experience Croatia’s finest in terms of history, culture, cuisine and entertainment. To experience Zagreb’s rich historical heritage, the best place to visit is the Medvedgrad Castle. This magnificent fortress was built in the 13th Century. From the castle, one can enjoy spectacular views of the city. For a taste of Croatian culture, the Trg Bana Jelacica (the main city square) is the perfect place. Another place is the colorful Dolac market, where Zagreb’s boisterous locals buy various items.
The Croatian capital is renowned for its pulsating night life. Top hangouts include Aquarius, Saloon and Peppermint. Those who prefer live music can pop into clubs like Sax, Bp Club and Klub Mocvara. There are also cozy bars like Skola and Boom Bar, as well as luxurious venues like the resplendent Regent Esplanade. Basically, whatever a person’s desires, they can find the perfect fulfillment in this great city.
Croatian has a total of 1,267 islands some of which are among the most beautiful in the world. However, the three unmissable islands are Hvar, Brac and Pag.
Hvar is renowned for its romantic, almost magical aura. In the past, it hosted King Edward VIII and Mrs. Simpson. In recent years, it has hosted Jay-Z and Beyonce. It is the perfect destination for anyone seeking for a romantic getaway.
Brac is one the most beautiful islands in the Adriatic Sea. It is the home of the iconic Zlatni Rat Beach – the most photographed beach in the Adriatic. Brac is also renowned as the center of water sports. Various sports such as parasailing, windsurfing, wakeboarding and scuba diving are offered on the island’s numerous beaches.
Pag is the premium beach party destination in the Adriatic. This island is populated end-to-end with numerous elegant beaches. The famous ones like Papaya, Aquarius and Kalypso throw endless beach parties especially in the summer. The parties feature pulsating music, exciting games like beach soccer, open air barbecues and other entertainments. At night, these parties transform into all-night dance sessions. These all-night parties feature bonfires, boogie-woogie and sometimes guest international Djs.
The Plitvice Lakes have famously been nicknamed “Heaven on Earth” because of their breathtaking beauty. The 16 cascading lakes are a natural wonder which is found nowhere else in the world. The way their waters flow into one another is an unforgettable spectacle. Then there is the water color which changes from blue to green, azure or gray. The lakes form a part of the iconic Plitvice Lakes National Park. This national park is endowed with scenic waterfalls, spectacular rocks and numerous unique species (18 fish, 222 bird, 35 mammal and 84 plant species). Its top attractions are the lynx, brown bear, wild cat, eagle, owl and capercaillie. The park is popular for offering visitors endless excitements including boat rides, camping, picnics, nature walks and bird watching.
Istria in Spring
Istria is a peninsula in the Adriatic Sea which is shared by Croatia, Italy and Slovenia. Croatia’s Istria is renowned for its scenic landscapes, historical treasures and culinary delights. The town of Pula has a rich history stretching back for 3000 years. Its main attractions include the 1st Century Triumphal Arch, 10th Century Roman Forum and numerous 15th Century cathedrals. A visitor to Istria can visit such historical sites, in between excursions to the lush countryside. The countryside is blooming with colorful flowers and plants during the Spring.
However, the best reason to visit Istria in spring is to enjoy its culinary delights. Istria is a region renowned for serving iconic dishes like Maneštra, Bobasice and Pršut. Istrian cuisine is known for using aromatic herbs, seasonal vegetables and wild plants as prime ingredients. These ingredients are available at their finest and freshest during the Istrian Spring. Therefore, whoever desires the best of Istrian cuisine has to visit in Spring. They have to visit various Istrian towns like Pula, Rovinj or Porec. The easiest way to visit all these towns is by renting a car driving through the scenic countryside to each town.
The region of Dalmatia is has the highest concentration of tourist destinations. It has up to 35 major tourist destinations which include cities, islands and national parks. However, the must-visit spots, especially in the summer, are the cities of Zadar and Dubrovnik.
Zadar is famous for having “the most beautiful sunset in the world”. The sunset is at its most glorious during the summer. The clear skies ensure that visitors can enjoy this magnificent natural spectacle. Summer is also the best time to experience Greeting to the Sun. The baking sun fully charges the glass panels, thus unleashing a mesmerizing spectacle during the night. The summer is also the perfect time to visit Zadar’s architectural treasures such as St. Donatus’ church. It is also the perfect time to enjoy popular delights like parasailing, rafting, cycling and mountain climbing.
Dubrovnik has been nicknamed “The Pearl of The Adriatic” on account of its magnificent beauty. In the summer, the skies are azure, waters emerald-blue, sands on the beaches pure white and palm trees elegant. Visitors can enjoy relaxing on the pristine beaches, scuba diving among the colorful reefs, and walking along the 500 year-old walls. They can also visit the 700 year-old pharmacy, or tour the numerous medieval cathedrals, monasteries and monuments. They can also watch numerous exciting performances during the 43 day-long Dubrovnik Summer Festival.
In a nutshell, these are the must-visit spots for anyone who wants to experience the best of Croatia. These destinations are perfect for personal, group, corporate or even romantic vacations. They offer the best of Croatian history, culture, cuisine, adventure and excitement. Therefore, anyone who desires to have a memorable Croatian vacation will be well served by visiting any of these destinations.
Article was written by Mary Stedul, Croatian blogger and freelance writer. She is currently working for Optima, rent a car agency from Croatia. Every free moment she is spending to write articles about this beautiful country!